FRANKFURT - General Motors unit Opel said new registrations of its cars rose to the highest level in four years in 2009, when government-backed scrapping incentives bolstered a floundering European auto industry.

The German government paid owners 2,500 euro ($3,597) to scrap cars that were at least nine years old if they replaced them with a new car.

New registrations of Opel cars in Germany rose 31 percent to about 339,000 in 2009, boosting the company's market share in the country to about 8.9 percent, Opel said on Tuesday.

The news comes as Opel readies a 3.3 billion euro ($4.8 billion) overhaul that will see it cut 8,300 of its 50,000 jobs and seek state aid from countries with Opel plants including Germany, Britain, Spain and Poland. ($1=.6951 Euro) (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)